Acts 2.43-47 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Luke 6.46-49 ‘Why do you call me “Lord, Lord”, and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.’
Reflection Paul writes to the Colossians, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for (people)…”(Col 3.23) In other words, be enthusiastic.
The word enthusiasm derives from two Greek words, en meaning ‘within’ and theos meaning ‘God.’ So, enthusiasm means, ‘God within.’ When we show enthusiasm we are expressing divine wonder and awe for the world and all of its content; Latin, Science, Theology or the full moon rising.
Our world and each of us is infused with the Spirit of God, with enthusiasm. This is both the essence and the expression of the resurrected Christ. We are in it and of it, the living body of Christ. It is the eagerness of our energy, the fullness of our feeling, the intensity of our interest and the assurance of our action. It is through the efficacious expression of our enthusiasm that we participate in bringing the kingdom of God to light. I want to share with you a poignant example that has arise right here amidst us.
One year ago on the first Wednesday evening following First Advent Sunday a new member of apostles, Gale Hall, came to the Advent supper bursting, literally bouncing with enthusiasm. Gale said something to the effect of, “On Sunday you invited us to a year of finding God in all things. Wow. You won’t believe what just happened.” And she poured out her story. Gail and a group of quilter friends decided to make quilts to give to the asylum children. Being a retired educator, Gale thought each child should also receive a book about being strong, making new friends, having a new home. The perfect source for such books is Scholastic books. The problem is, only employed teachers have access to Scholastic books. After following a few dead ends Gale found herself at a preshcool in Oracle where she told a woman her story. And the woman said, “My son works for Scholastic Books and I just received one hundred books from him.” Gale nearly jumped out of her skin. Her next stop was our Advent Supper.
Everyone of us present was fed with the joy of Gale’s presence. As she told her story Gale awoke our “glad and generous heart, ”collectively we praised God and felt an enormous sense of good will. And, much as we see in our Ac.ts text, “Day by day the Lord added to their number of those” effected by Gales’ enthusiasm. Since that transfiguring moment last December one hundred and thirty one asylum children have been welcomed to their new home with a beautiful quilt and encouraging book. Thirty more children will receive their God inspired welcome next month.
Gale’s enthusiasm and her efficacious action has brought life to more than these children. She has inspired an advocacy project, using quilts that incorporate images the asylum children have drawn, that has evolved into an Art event. Hope & Healing: The Art of Asylum has already been shown in three venues and will open right here on December 15th. Gale has found her way back to a classroom in Oracle and enlisted the support of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who are excited to share their bonus “Scholastic points” to help Gale acquire more books for the Asylum children.
Gale’s enthusiasm, her energy, earnestness and passion have awakened the interest and imagination of countless people because, heart speaks to heart. This is the rock upon which community is built.
Which brings us to today’s gospel text according to Luke. Jesus teaches the disciples and us, “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built.” Jesus is talking about digging deeply inside ourselves until we touch our ‘with God’ place, our enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the bedrock of our being. Once we have tapped into it, we are compelled to act with good will, and, guess what? It is contagious. It transforms us and the people around us. Enthusiasm is the stuff of which we build our lives, our homes our church.
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